Career Talk with Adv. Diwakar Kishore: Working at Luthra and Luthra, Teaching at LST, Practicing at Patna High Court

Campus Manager Mohona Thakur recently interviewed Adv. Diwakar Kishore.

He is a 2012 graduate of National Law School of India University, Bangalore.

He spent a major part of his free time in law school teaching as a legal aptitude mentor at LST (Law School Tutorial).

Later, he joined Luthra & Luthra Law Offices, Mumbai, a top-tier premiere law firm in India, as an associate. However, he gave up the coveted corporate job and moved out of his comfort zone to pursue litigation.

He is currently practicing in the Patna High Court.

I think the real fun part of the journey was from the day they declared the NLS entrance results till the day I had my first economics class at law school.

Hello Mr. Diwakar! Tell us something about yourself?

Hello. Right this minute I worry about a convicted murderer who was terminated from his employment with a show cause notice, student union of a medical college who are fighting over a garden sculpture and a rice mill owner who allegedly stole electricity, all of whom happen to be my few and only clients; other than that, I like ice-cream.

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Describe your childhood in brief? Your sources of inspiration i.e. your driving forces?

I grew up in Patna. I had my primary education here and then moved to Birla Vidya Mandir, Nainital for senior school. School, like for most of us, was definitely fun. I met some amazing people there who surprisingly still like being friends with me.

A lot of people have told me that a boarding school makes you independent and prepares you for the real world. I am not sure about that but it definitely provides a conducive environment to find people who have your back covered and very often these people stick around for a long time.

At home I have my parents and an elder sister. My father is a senior advocate in Patna High Court. My sister is also an Attorney/lawyer at IBM and she found herself a lawyer to marry.

Clearly, we as a family like law. My mom is a home-maker, but she has always been very focused about our future, career and the importance of a good education. If I had to pick one person who has always inspired me to be better, it will have to be my mother.

Why did you choose law? Any particular person who influenced you?

From an early age I saw my father getting a lot of respect everywhere he went. Even without taking into consideration how good I felt I will look in the white band and black gown, it was natural for me to be attracted by his profession. Ironically, he always wanted me to take up science.

In my 12th, I was at IIT, Delhi and I met with a few engineers. I was immediately convinced that I should take up law.

How was the law school journey?

Tumultuous, as early adulthood often tends to be.

I think the real fun part of the journey was from the day they declared the NLS entrance results till the day I had my first economics class at law school.

Your personal failures at law school?

I spent the first two years of my time at law school hesitant to enter any competitions or events; I was too scared to put myself out there. You can meet some really inspirational people at law school, and while it’s easy to feel intimidated, feeling scared is a complete waste of time.

I didn’t realize that everyone had to struggle at some point to be the best; they didn’t just reach great heights automatically. I always wonder what I could have done in those two years, and I look upon them as a bit of a failure.

Your biggest achievements in law school?

Learning to take my chances.

Subjects you liked the most? Any particular Professor who inspired you?

I loved subjects that involved more direct application of principles and philosophies of law than others which relied more heavily on facts and rules. Subjects like constitutional law, jurisprudence: subjects that gave me amorphous, ever-changing principles of justice, morality, right and wrong to work with within the strictures of law.

I really liked Prof. Elizabeth and Prof. Sudhir Krishnaswami. Incidentally, I had both of them in the same trimester. They really changed my outlook towards law and life. Prof. Elizabeth taught us History. A module of ‘History of History’ that she did with us remains to be my favourite set of lessons till day.

Prof. Sudhir on the other had made Constitutional Law the toughest nut to crack. But in the process, he also made sure that each one of us knew our law and read our cases. This was the third trimester of the first year at law school. It laid down a solid foundation for the rest of the courses in the then coming years.

lstYou spent 5 years at Law School Tutorials (LST) teaching Legal Aptitude. How was the experience? How did this help you out?

Teaching will always be my first love; I think that’s why I kept at it even when people around me told me it was time to throw in the towel and move on to something new.

Even though I started teaching to make money, LST made me financially independent at an early age, which was a good feeling.

Among other things, I think teaching taught me to be more patient with people.

Some important things which law school didn’t teach you but ‘working’ did? 

If you don’t like your work, you will get bored, and then you will realise that boredom really does kill.

You worked primarily in the Mergers and Acquisition Sector. What advice would you give to students who aspire to specialise in this field?

Be prepared to work hard and take advice from people who like M&A.

What according to you should be the focus of the law students at law school? How should they shape up their potential career graph?

The focus of students in any college, not just law school, should be to really try their hand at everything they see around them.

College is the last place you have this many completely different options and opportunities open to you at the same time, combined with the avenues to reach excellence in any or all of them.

Too many students shy away from trying new things, from fear of failure or just sheer laziness, and this, to me, is the greatest waste of any college experience.

What survival instincts should lawyers-to-be develop?

Being alert and learning from your past mistakes is always good, irrespective of the field one works in. Making mistakes is normal. Making the same mistakes again is what hurts.

You have recently started practising in Patna High Court. What has your experience up until now been like?

Even though my father is yet to trust me with one of his own cases¸ his goodwill and NLS brand name does gets me cases from all his juniors and acquaintances.

The NLS Brand Name Does Help

The NLS Brand Name Does Help

I have had an amazing time working here at the Patna High Court. This is the first time I have felt like being a part of law in action. It is quite a thrill.

Along with that, I think the major difference that I can spot from my previous work place is the variety of work that litigation offers. Every new case is so very different from the last one. I find that part of my work very exciting.

I would say I am lucky that my father is a Senior Counsel here at Patna High Court so, I did not have to wait long to get a chance to appear and argue a matter before the High Court.

Even though my father is yet to trust me with one of his own cases¸ his goodwill and NLS brand name does get me cases from all his juniors and acquaintances. I have appeared in a few matters and to my good luck, I have received favourable orders. I must confess this is almost addictive.

How does one gain and retain clients? What’s the magic mantra for ensuring an ever growing client base?

Three months into litigation, honestly, I don’t think I am in a position to answer this question intelligently.

I think carving out a niche area for your self and being honest to your work and ultimately to your clients will help. I have been working on a lot of pro bono matters and that’s a good feeling.

How is litigation a good career option? Some students are hesitant in opting for a career in litigation as they are forever lured by the easy money of a fancy desk job and a corporate title. What’d be your message to them?

Obviously, there’s no blanket rule. It depends on what makes you happiest. Fancy desk jobs and corporate titles also come with a lot of work and responsibilities that many people find challenging and stimulating; there’s no such thing as “easy money”.

I think the greatest parts about litigating, for me, have been being my own boss, working in an area that involves more direct application of the law and interacting personally with clients. These are things you don’t get to do in the corporate sphere (at least not for the first few years), and this is what makes litigation worth the struggle for me.

Any law student has a rough idea of what the different career paths provide in terms of work, mental stimulation and pay. It merely comes down to what they value most; there is no right or wrong choice.

What is the real world like? Please throw some light on your schedule.

If by real world you meant life after college, for me the biggest change is that after waking up in the morning, I no longer have the choice of bunking and sleeping through the day.

Most of my day is spent standing and waiting in the court rooms. As a rule of thumb, junior lawyers never get a seat in the courtrooms.

Evenings are meant for client meetings and preparing for next day’s matters. After answering this question, I am glad you did not ask me to compare it with my schedule during my college days.

What would your 3 biggest pieces of advises be to law students entering the profession? 

Life is short, but it’s not that short.

You have the time to try your hand at a few things, to see what career space suits you best.

Law is a diverse field with many avenues; you don’t necessarily have to pick one as soon as you graduate and settle with it for the rest of your life.

Apart from that, I would just quote ‘other’ wise people: “stay hungry, stay foolish”; “get rich or die trying”. 😉

Any more tips/tricks?

Eat healthy and sleep well.  

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Comments Till Now

  1. I unwind by playing golf – dude, seriously?

  2. Balram Halwai says:

    “Practicing”? Come on!

  3. So nice to see him after a long time. He taught us at LST! The interview is inspirational. Thank you.

  4. This is a wonderful interview. I would personally thank Adv. Diwakar here for taking out time from his new lit. career. I could personally connect to so many aspects of the discussion.

  5. “Eat healthy and sleep well?” In Law School? Really, now?

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